Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

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Fall in love with my Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies this Christmas! Cozy up in your favourite Christmas sweater with a glass of spiced milk and these soft and chewy cookies.

It was super rainy over the weekend so of course our Mandeville temperature dropped to a ‘low’ 64°F  which for me is the perfect excuse to throw on a chunky sweater and curl up with the family; in that moment it dawned on me, Christmas is here!! So I decided to make some Christmasy cookies with our most beloved Christmas ingredient here on the island; sorrel.

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So if you’re from North America and parts of Europe, you’ll probably think I’m talking about that herb you use in salads but our sorrel is nothing like that. It’s actually a fruit-like flower that some people might refer to as hibiscus. We use it primarily to make a boozy drink around the holiday season which every one is permitted to gulp down, including kids! Kinda crazy, I know but usually a batch without alcohol is made for the kids and those who don’t drink.

Recently I discovered these dried, candied sorrel at the supermarket (you can also find them on Amazon) which I snack on or add to salads; this weekend they were added to my cookies!

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So to make these, its quite simple and perfect to make with your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and the list goes on. I went all out on these and didn’t skim on the things that make cookies really… amazing. I added organic cane sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, butter and of course salt and baking soda.

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First step, whisk the sugar and butter together.

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Second step, add the flour mixture.

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Third step, add the oats and sorrel.

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Fourth step, refrigerate if your kitchen is warm, don’t if it’s cool.

Fifth step, bake.

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Easy, right! Before I add them to the oven, I add a sprinkle of oats on top for texture and crunch. You have to use whole, old fashioned oats, it just won’t be the same with the processed stuff. I pull these out of the oven when they are golden brown and the middle is still soft. You wanna let them cool before you remove them from the pan, although you don’t have to wait ’till they cool completely, just enough so you can touch them. I continue cooling mine on a cooling rack.

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When they cool I grab a glass of milk that I add nutmeg to and chow down. My mom likes to have her cookies warm and it’s pretty good with the cold milk, definitely something to try.

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If you make these cookies, leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These are the perfect Christmas time cookies and a great alternative to the well-known gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies; get the kids to help out on this one!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup butter (organic and unsalted), softened

3/4 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon milk or almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried candied sorrel

1/2 cup whole, old fashioned oats (plus extra)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, cream the sugar and butter together until smooth and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the dried ingredients, the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add gradually to the creamed butter mixture and mix just enough to combine.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk in.
  6. Add the sorrel and oats and switching to a rubber spatula, mix the sorrel and oats in to form a smooth, soft dough.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes if you are in a hot environment, you can skip this step if your kitchen is cool.
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and roll into balls and place them on a butter or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Press down the ball slightly and sprinkle extra oats on top.
  10. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still soft.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transporting the cookies to a cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy with a glass of milk!

 

 

Gingery Cucumber Salad

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My fiance Gordon recently introduced me to a cucumber salad recipe that has got me hooked! It is deceptively simple since it packs such a punch but has literally 6 ingredients (including salt and pepper). I’m won’t dilly dally for much longer, so let get into it.

Cucumbers. These are of course the main ingredients in this fresh salad so what’s the first rule? That’s right, use fresh ingredients; this is so so important. Make sure your cucumbers are fresh and firm and deep green in colour. I like a crisp, yet flavourful cucumber, that just slightly bursts with juices once you bite in. This is the sorta cucumber you need for this recipe.

I got mine from my grandmother who got it from a family friend who plants cucumbers; I love getting veggies as gifts haha, they’re the best kind. I’ve also got a small patch of cucumbers growing nearby my house that’s sorta run it’s growth course so I haven’t been able to harvest from my community… thank God for family friends!

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“You have to cut the cucumbers thin, that’s the trick to this recipe”, that’s what my naturally gifted fiance let me know the first time we made this salad together; and so, I pass this on to you all, it really is quite important. You sorta end up marinating the cucumbers in the ginger, mustard and honey so having the cucumbers thin helps the flavours to get together super easy.

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So yea, you’re pretty much done at this point. Add some dried (not powdered) ginger, that’s the ginger you get when you totally forgot you had ginger and it got all shriveled, yeah, don’t throw that out, it’s actually got a nice flavour. Throw in some grainy mustard too, some honey and season with salt and pepper and you’ve got the perfect side salad for any meal.

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best

The best thing about this salad is the flavour; Gordon and I both agree that it tastes just like the ‘fake’ wasabi you get in Japanese restaurants but more fresh and less harsh, which we just love!

Check this recipe out if you’re looking for a super simple salad with surprising flavours, oh and also if you like wasabi. Drop me a comment if you made it, let me know how you liked it!

Gingery Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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If you’re trapped for time or you just don’t wanna be in the kitchen for hours, here’s the perfect side salad with a punch!

INGREDIENTS

2 large cucumbers

1 1/2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried ginger, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Add them to a bowl.

2. Add the other ingredients and toss everything together. Serve as a fresh, side salad.

I hope you shine today!heart

Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

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Who doesn’t love a good flatbread?

A couple weeks ago I had the urge to make a flatbread with fresh bammy. If you aren’t from Jamaica, you might not know what bammy is, so here goes my description; bammy is finely grated cassava (a root vegetable, like yam), that’s been beaten, dried and formed into thin bread, then baked. It’s Jamaica’s flatbread and it’s sooo good!

My grandparents used to make bammies back in the day when they had the strength to, cause let’s face it, it takes a lot of energy to grate and beat the hell out of the cassava. They had a pestle and mortar, which was actually a hollowed out tree trunk that they would beat the cassava in. The old grate they used to grate the cassava on still stands tall today and we use it to grate coconuts and the like.

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Nowadays we get our bammies from family friends in St. Elizabeth who bake them fresh. I like to crisp my bammy up in a dry hot pan when I get it and that’s exactly what I did with the bammies for this recipe.

Like many of my recipes, I made this one with the items I had on hand and in my garden. I made a carrot puree that went on top of the bammy by simple pureeing cooked carrots with some salt, pepper, almond milk and a pinch of turmeric. The puree was smooth and delicate and surprisingly tasty! I added roasted beets and roasted zucchini on top of that and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

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The best topping of all is the fried pumpkin blossom. I picked some blossoms from my pumpkin patch, stuffed them with organic cream cheese, breaded them in breadcrumbs and fried them lightly in olive oil… OMG it’s so so good. If i had enough of these, I’d fry them up and snack on them all day long! If you take one thing away from this flatbread recipe, let it be this.

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I finished the flatbread off with a drizzle of olive oil, sliced it up and shared it with my mom and Gordon. It’s the perfect lunch time snack that is fast replacing my favourite overnight oats.

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Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is a great flatbread that’s perfect for a lunch snack and it’s super tasty!

INGREDIENTS

2 fresh bammies

1 1/2 carrots

1/2 cup almond milk

a pinch of turmeric

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 zucchini

1 roasted beet

4 pumpkin blossoms

2 tablespoons organic cream cheese

1 pinch dried herbs

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

olive oil

pumpkin seeds

limes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a hot pan, crisp up the bammies to create a crust on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Slice carrot and boil until tender.
  4. Slice zucchini, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in the oven until cooked.
  5. Place beet in foil paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in oven as well.
  6. When the carrots are soft, puree them in a blender with the almond milk, salt, pepper and turmeric. Puree until smooth and velvety.
  7. Preheat a pan with some olive oil over medium heat.
  8. To the cream cheese, add any dried herbs you have on hand and mix it together.
  9. Stuff the pumpkin blossoms with the cream cheese mixture and roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry the stuffed blossoms in the heated oil until crispy and golden brown. When done, transfer the blossoms to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Once the zucchini and beets are tender, remove them from the oven. Slice the beets in desired shape.
  12. To the bammy, add some carrot puree. Top with the vegetables and the fried blossoms.
  13. Add the pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with lime.
  14. Slice the flatbread and enjoy.

 

Banana Turmeric Lassi

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So it’s flu season and I’ve got an antioxidant packed , vitamin rich, super healthy and all round delicious lassi for you! This Indian smoothie is sure to keep you safe this flu season and the warm spices will give you that holiday feeling, that’s if you’re not already wearing Christmas sweaters and drinking hot chocolate or sorrel as we do here in Jamaica.

So what’s a lassi? To all who have no clue, I like to liken a lassi to a smoothie; an Indian smoothie. But, it’s really a beverage made with milk, yogurt and spices and sometimes fruit. Fruit lassis are my absolute favourite- I love it with mangoes, oranges, berries and of course bananas! If you are new to my blog, you wouldn’t know that I go bananas for bananas, now you do; they are my ride or die fruit. smile face

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I’ve got dozens of banana tree in my back yard so I’ve always got bananas. My motto is “no banana left behind”, so when there are just too many to eat, I pack them in the freezer and save them for smoothies, gluten free pancakes, cakes, lassis and the like! For this recipe, frozen bananas are best.

Although this lassi is pretty ‘bananary’, I must say that the top ingredients that makes this beverage really sing are the ginger, turmeric and cardamom (oh and they also make this undeniably Indian and so so right for this cooler weather, or cold weather depending on where you are). Not the mention how amazing these spices are; got a bit of gas? Cardamom. Got a cold or the flu? Turmeric. Got a bit of motion sickness? Ginger. Yup, this lassi has got it all and then some!

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I chose to make these lassis with almond milk to keep it a bit lighter but if you wanna go traditional and you aren’t against milk haha, then go for that whole milk experience, you will end up with super fluffy, super smooth lassis. Add some yogurt too, that’ll give that much needed tang to your lassi; I love the tang! It helps to cut right through the spices, which are pretty… in your face. Oh, I also love adding orange zest to help brighten the flavours. If you’ve got super over ripened bananas, you don’t need to add honey but if your bananas are just ripe and you want that touch of sweetness, go ahead and add honey to taste; this recipe really didn’t need it; my bananas where very sweet!

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Lassis are very simple and easy to make, I drop all my ingredients into my blender and wizz away! The result is this smooth, refreshing, spiced and comforting lassi that’ll definitely help fight off any flu! I garnished mine with cinnamon and dried, edible flowers from my mom’s garden which sends this beautiful, sweet scent up from the lassi once you turn your glass to your head, It’s one of my favourite parts of enjoying this lassi and it looks so pretty! smile face

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Please let me know if you try this one! It’s a must have this flu season.

Banana Turmeric Lassi

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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INGREDIENTS

3 frozen bananas

1 small knob ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 pods cardamom, seeds removed

2 heaping spoons of yogurt (about 1 cup)

3 1/2 cups milk of your choice

1/2 teaspoon Orange zest

cinnamon, if desired

dried, edible flowers, if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the frozen bananas and the knob of ginger, add them to the blender.
  2. Add the turmeric, cardamom seeds, yogurt, milk and orange zest.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses and garnish with cinnamon and dried flowers.
  5. Enjoy!

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

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Sundays are the day when I love to go all out in the kitchen, I have so much time to experiment, mix and match and whip up one of those everything but the kitchen sink recipes; last Sunday wasn’t one of those Sundays. I was so wiped out from adventuring the day before that all I could manage to do was make something simple and comforting.

Enter my Thai-Style Pasta Curry. I crafted this recipe out of my love for pasta and Thai-style curry (by the way, that curry gets mixed with pretty much everything in my kitchen so pasta is just one of many accompaniments to this curry). This recipe is super easy to follow and will make a great weeknight meal! So without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Lemongrass. Oh lemongrass. One of my favourite ingredients, especially in Thai foods. In Jamaica you can actually find lemongrass growing wild in one large patch; we often use it here to make teas but I love cooking with it! Gordon has a huge patch growing at his house and he has been my supplier whenever I’m in need of lemongrass.

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But honestly, all the ingredients in this curry work beautifully together and are pretty much on an equal level; I also added turmeric, onion, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, bird peppers (tiny chilis that pack a serious punch) and coconut milk that makes everything harmonize on your palate.

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I used my favourite kitchen tool, my pestle and mortar to smash all my ingredients together (besides my coconut milk and lemongrass) to make a paste. Once I had it all smooth and pastey, I added fresh, cut tomatoes and smashed the paste some more.

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Then I took it all over to a heated pan with coconut oil. This goes pretty quickly from here! I sauteed the paste over medium heat until the liquid in the paste reduces.

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You might wanna add a bit more oil to the pan before the next step of adding more onions and garlic. Fresh garlic and onion adds to the texture contrast of the curry and I just love biting into sweet sauteed onions!

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At this point you wanna boil your pasta. I used farfalle pasta but any short, medium cut pasta will do. You wanna cook your pasta a little under done only because you’ll be finishing it off in the curry but you have to watch for ‘cooked’ pasta that’s too raw since we won’t be cooking it in the pasta for too long; so cook the pasta until a little shy of al dente or ‘to the tooth’.

Once the onions and garlic are sauteed and slightly browned, I added the coconut milk and a pinch of salt for seasoning along with the lemon grass. On low heat I let this simmer until all the flavours come together; this can take up to 15-20 minutes. At this point I check the flavour every 5 minutes or so and season as needed.

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Once the curry is done I added the pasta and tossed it in the curry before adding a bunch of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and lime zest.

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I finished the dish with a few coriander leaves and sat down to a quiet Sunday dinner.

The best part about this recipe is that the sauce can be made before hand and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezers for 1-2 weeks. All you’d need to do is add the pasta and heat!

If you end up whipping this up, drop a comment and let me know how it turned out!

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is an easy to follow recipe that’s great for weekdays!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups short, medium cut pasta

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small onion

1 knob ginger

2-3 bird pepper or chilis

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 medium tomatoes, diced

coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups coconut milk

salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 stalks lemongrass, smashed

1 bunch coriander leaves, plus more for garnishing

1 lime, zested

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop the onion and ginger and place them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add the spices and chilis to them and smash everything to a smooth paste.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and smash some more.
  4. In a heated pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and heat.
  5. Saute the paste in the oil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces.
  6. Add a bit more oil and saute the 1/2 onion with the two cloves of garlic. Allow them to get slightly browned.
  7. Cook pasta a little under done.
  8. Pour in the coconut milk and stir the curry. Add lemongrass and salt to taste and lower heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Once the curry has reduced, add the cooked pasta and toss it in the curry, coating all the pasta continue to cook the pasta in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and add freshly chopped coriander leaves and lime zest.
  11. Toss the pasta again.
  12. Serve hot with more coriander leaves. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

 

Special Overnight Oats

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Oats are hands down one of my favourite snacks- my brother and I are obsessed with oats and we use it to make breakfast, snack (lunch) or even dinner items and for the past month or so I have been binging on overnight oats; I carry my oats with fruit to work as a snack pretty much every day. I love the fact that it is filling, full of fibre, yummy and easy on the stomach!

If you grew up in a Jamaican household, you will be all too familiar with Jamaican style porridge, specifically oats porridge; is it delicious? Yes, but ever since I got into overnight oats I never looked back; I must say that the flavour of overnight oats is cleaner, you really taste the oats and all the other ingredients, its not too mushy so you’re getting good texture contrast and it’s overall more appealing to me. If you never too fancied cooked oats, you could try this recipe and see how the uncooked stuff works for you.

I thought it wouldn’t be right for me not to share how I make my favourite snack of the past month and probably one of my faves for this month as well. So here it goes, my Special Overnight Oats.

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The oats are of course the star, so let’s start there. The oats I use are the organic, old fashioned whole oats; these give maximum nutrients and texture, they are the only ones to use in this recipe. Stay far away from the processed stuff. You can pick up proper oats at any health food store here in Jamaica or perhaps a specialty supermarket. If you are in a more health-friendly area of the world, you should be able to find good oats in your regular supermarket.

To soak my oats overnight, I make some spiced almond milk. I simmer my almond milk with cinnamon and nutmeg; this combo really bring it back home to the traditional flavours of porridge and well, it’s perfect for the Autumn season! You can make this milk ahead of time and store it in the fridge, then use it as you like. I usually make it as I need it since sometimes I actually go with straight, plain almond milk then grate the cinnamon and nutmeg over my oats.

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Every time I make overnight oats, I tweak it a bit, for this recipe, I decided to do dual layers of raspberry oats (in an attempt to finish the last bit of my freshly frozen raspberries) and chia seed oats. I divided my oats in two and added raspberry puree (I used frozen raspberries and blended them with some of the spiced almond milk) to one and chia seeds to the other; then I added the spiced milk and mixed them together.

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But, if you forgot to soak your oats overnight, you can warm your milk and pour the milk over the oats and let it soak while you get ready for your day, in a few minutes, it’ll  be just as soft and palatable as overnight oats. If you are dealing with cold milk or you wanna be Mr./Miss prepared then making this from the night before is the way to go. So, after I mixed everything together, this is the point where I refrigerate until morning; I do not add the fruits, only because I much prefer freshly sliced fruit with my oats, but I suppose you can layer up your oats and fruit from the night before.

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In the morning I just finish up; raspberry oats on the bottom, sliced fruit of your choice on top, I used papaya, kiwi, grapes and apples this time around but one of my favourite is actually mashed bananas at the base and the oats over top.

I continue layering up with the two different oats and fruit until I’m at the top of my jar (I use a jar sometimes because it’s so easy to just screw the lid on and go). I add more fruits to the top, some chia seeds and a dollop of almond butter and a lot of honey! And that’s it, delicious and ready to go!

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This recipe, as you can see is super simple and very customizable but I love it mostly because it’s very delicious and clean tasting and it really does keep me full until dinner! I recommend this recipe to anyone who lives life on the go or might prefer uncooked oats.

Special thanks to my new found photographer, Gordon.

Please let me know how you like it!

Special Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is a quick and easy snack or breakfast item that’s great for on the go. Delicious and nutritious!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2-2 cups almond milk

1 cinnamon stick

nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup raspberries

3 cups organic, old fashioned whole oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more for top

sliced fruits

1 teaspoon almond butter

honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a sauce pan, simmer almond milk with cinnamon stick and nutmeg until the milk is infused. The milk will reduce a bit.
  2. Add raspberries to a blender with a bit of the almond milk and puree to a smooth consistency.
  3. Divide the oats in half and add the chia seeds to one half and the raspberry puree to the other.
  4. Add some almond milk to the chia seeds oats until the liquid covers the oats by the tiniest bit. Add milk to the raspberry oats as needed to cover the oats just a bit as well.
  5. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.
  6. In the morning, layer up the oats and fruits in a jar, I started with the raspberry oats layer first and alternated between the fruits and chia seeds oats.
  7. Add more fruit on top with almond butter and lots of honey and chia seeds.

I hope you shine today!heart

Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

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Who doesn’t love some cheesecake now and again? Some of us could actually have cheesecake all day, every day! But if you’re pursuing the righteous path, sweet cakes of any kind are in the opposite direction. Fret not my sweet tooth friends! I’m about to share with you my indulgent, yet healthy no-bake cheesecake recipe.

So if you’ve ever baked a cheesecake on your own, you’ll remember all too well the cracks on the surface of the cake after baking or the water bath you absolutely need to put your cake into or just the long wait you have while your cheesecake bakes and all you wanna do is eat cheesecake now! This recipe will remove all those little things you rather not go through and you’ll still end up with some yummy cheesecake.

I made these after my bounty of raspberries and my organic cream cheese kept calling out to me saying: “raspberry cheesecake”, well, maybe it didn’t happen like that exactly but there was definitely a moment of long, intense stares at both my raspberries and cream cheese, then an overwhelming need to marry the two in the form of cheesecake!

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So let’s talk ingredients. Fresh. Organic. Homegrown. Handpicked. Handcrafted. The raspberries I used are from my backyard where I’ve got a huge bush growing. I actually picked these a few weeks ago and had the remainder of what we didn’t scarf down in my freezer and the cream cheese is the good, organic stuff that anyone with the right ingredients could make easily on their own! Tip: Good milk=good cheese. Check out my soon to be milking gal Shelby!

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This recipe is easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Allow the cream cheese to sit out at room temperature so it gets soft, then whip it to a smooth, airy texture with a whisk; this won’t take long at all, you don’t need a mixer. Then add a pinch of salt, some honey, organic of course, some coconut milk and lime juice to finish it off. If you’re Jamaican, you know this is the real organic stuff; honey in an Appleton flask, haha.

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Then you wanna puree some raspberries with some more coconut milk. I divided the cream cheese mixture by adding about 1/3 of it to a separate bowl before adding the raspberry puree to the majority of the mixture. I decided to make this two-toned on the spot and boy does it look pretty!!

For the crust, I used what I suppose is the Jamaica version of graham crackers; which are essentially nothing like graham crackers but I figured that if we were making one it would be ginger flavoured, haha. So I crushed a few ginger biscuits in a food processor with a bit of coconut oil. The oil gives the crumbs hold so it creates a crust.

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After you’ve done all that, the only thing left is the assembly.

  1. Add some crumbs to cute individual dishes and press it down to pack it firmly.

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2.Pour some plain cream cheese mixture on top and level it out.

3. Pour the raspberry mixture on top of that and level it off (just make sure it all looking even on the surface). Decorate with some raspberries and lime zest!

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Easy right!

Pack these into the refrigerator and chill for about 1-2 hours or freeze them for 30 minutes. You’ll be having a healthy and delicious cheesecake in no time and all without the hassle of bakingsmile face

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Thanks to my photographer for the day, Gordon, for the wonderful photos! xoxo

Check out the recipe below!!

Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Enjoy this sweet tooth’s dessert that’s easy on the waist line!

INGREDIENTS

6-8 ginger biscuits

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup organic cream cheese

2 tablespoon coconut milk

2 tablespoons organic honey

1 pinch of salt

1 or 1 1/2 lime, juiced

1 cup raspberries, pureed

Fresh raspberries

Lime zest

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a food processor, pulse the biscuits to get crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse to incorporate. When pinched in your hand, the crumbs should come together.
  2. Press the crumbs into individual dishes or bowls to pack it firmly. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream cheese, coconut milk, honey, salt and lime juice together to get a smooth and airy mixture.
  4. Remove about 1/3 of the mixture and transfer to a separate bowl.
  5. To the remaining majority, add the raspberry puree and mix to completely incorporate.
  6. Pour some of the plain cream cheese mixture on top of the crumbs and make sure it’s even in the dish.
  7. Pour some of the raspberry mixture on top of the plain mixture and level it off, making sure everything is even. You want to be able to see each layer.
  8. Decorate each cheesecake with raspberries and lime zest.
  9. Refrigerate for 1 -2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spiced Bread Pudding

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So Autumn is in full swing and the classic flavours of this season have come to life in my Pumpkin Spiced Bread Pudding!

My mother, when she would bake every single Sunday, would make a bread pudding; you could say it was her specialty. Today I thought I’d relive those days so I came up with a quick recipe that’s fit for the season.

Pumpkins are enjoyed by us here in Jamaica year round but I have always felt that Autumn brings the best pumpkins; the pumpkin vines grow bigger and more beautiful and the heavy fruits we reap from them are full bodied, yellow-orange and packed with great flavour. My pumpkin vine is proof of this; just look how amazing it looks!

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For this recipe, I really wanted the flavours to make you feel like the only thing you want to do is cozy up with a blanket, a good book and some bread pudding. The pudding is ooey, gooey, warm and delicious and the chocolate drizzle I added on top really does top it off!

Making this bread pudding is very easy. You’ll need pumpkin of course, some stale/old bread (I used some old beetroot bread), some spices like nutmeg, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. I kept it healthy by replacing the traditional milk/cream with coconut milk and eggs and sweetener were the other ingredients I used; the sweetener can be maple syrup, honey, Stevia or some other natural sweetener. I used honey.

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So first I cooked my pumpkin until it was soft and mashable and while it cooked I made my custard; I simply boiled the coconut milk with the spices (you wanna bring this to a boil slowly so the spices are infused into the milk).

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And then I added it slowly to my eggs and sweetener. Chefs call this tempering the eggs; you have to add the hot liquid to the eggs slowly while whisking the hell out of them so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.

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By then, my pumpkin was cooked, (if you don’t have access to fresh pumpkin where you are, canned pumpkin is the best alternative). I mashed the pumpkin and added it to the custard then whisked it in. I left little flecks of pumpkin in the custard because I love the texture of the whole pumpkin in the custard.

Then it’s time for the bread. I cubed my bread up and soaked it in the custard for what seemed like forever. My bread was pretty crusty and old haha, so soaking it took a while.

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In the mean time, I preheated my oven to 300°F and oiled my baking ramekins with coconut oil.

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Once the bread was thoroughly soaked through with the custard, I spooned the mixture into my ramekins and popped them into the oven. Baking took about 30 minutes but the best bet is to stick the pudding with a tooth pick and when it comes out clean and the custard is longer wet-looking, it’s done!

I melted some dark chocolate and gave my pudding a healthy drizzle but if chocolate isn’t your thing, you can go for whipped cream, fruit, maple syrup, honey or even warmed milk/cream of your choice. Chocolate and pumpkin though… match made in heaven, a must try!

Gordon and I shared one pudding since we were stuffed from dinner and I must say, there is something romantic about warm, spiced pumpkin bread pudding shared with the one you love. It’s the perfect dessert to end a romantic dinner on an Autumn day.

Check out the full recipe below!

Pumpkin Spiced Bread Pudding

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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A warm and delicious dessert to keep you satisfied this Autumn!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

5 pods cardamom, cracked

a pinch of salt

3 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 cup mashed pumpkin

4 cups old bread, cubed

coconut oil, for oiling ramekins

1/4 cup chocolate sauce (dark chocolate)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the coconut milk, spices and salt together over low heat for 15 minutes or until the spices become very fragrant.
  2. In the mean time, whisk the eggs and honey together in a heat proof bowl, set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  4. Once the milk is infused with the spices, pour it into a measuring cup with a spout. Slowly begin pouring the milk in with the eggs while whisking the eggs quickly; add the milk slowly until the eggs mixture becomes warm/hot, at this point you can add the milk faster and continue whisking.
  5. Add the pumpkin to the custard and whisk it in.
  6. Add the cubed bread to the custard and soak until each piece is completely wet.
  7. Oil the ramekins with coconut oil.
  8. Spoon the bread pudding mixture into each ramekin. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the custard itself is set.
  9. Drizzle the baked puddings with chocolate sauce and serve warm and enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Cherries

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It’s that time again when I post something special for the meat-eaters that’s still healthy and super delicious! Today that recipe is my Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Cherries.

I know some of my followers and readers or even those who might have spotted my blog on one or two occasion would assume that I am vegan… but, I’m not. I simply cook food that I love eating and it just so happens that that means lots of veggie-centric dishes that are yummy and healthy. That being said, there are some meats that you won’t see popping up on my blog because I don’t really eat them; I am a huge foodie though so if I’m in Japan with some high quality Wagyu beef in front of me, I wouldn’t leave without having a taste. In any case, my top priority is eating well and eating healthy; no frills, no trend following, no pretension. So now that we’re all on the same page let’s move on to the recipe!

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For this recipe I got my hands on some farm raised, organic chicken from my mom’s friend who raises these birds as a healthy source of protein, that means no hormones, way less fat on the meat itself and well, quite honestly, it also means you’re eating chickens that chow down on worms ever so often; you can skip ahead if you’re grossed out but keep in mind that this is what you get when you wanna go for organic. Essentially it makes for really good meat, so I personally couldn’t care less.

I used the bottom half of my chicken for this recipe, that’s just the legs and highs in one whole piece. I made sure to trim away any fat beneath the skin and on the back section of the chicken part, then I scored the skin to help get it crispy in the oven! My bird went with my organic, freshly picked rosemary which I’ve featured several times on my blog and I rubbed the scored flesh with salt and pepper before scattering the rosemary all over the chicken. I got my bird into the oven, near the top rack and let it roast on high.

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But let’s backtrack a bit because I’ve been telling this story in reverse. First, I made the cherry ‘topping’, if you will. It’s not a sauce or jam, not really a chutney either although it could be called that; yeah, lets go with chutney then. So I made the cherry chutney with cherries from my grammy’s tree which guys, has been there since before I was a tot, I mean, I pretty much grew up under this tree and here I am today still eating it’s fruit. So grateful for all the fruits this beast of a tree keeps giving! My strong and amazing grampy used to be the one who’d pick bags full of these cherries for me during this season and I’d make all sorts of foods and drinks from them; he’d stand on a makeshift chair and reach into the high branches for the cherries, he’d package them and then bring them to my house for me. Since he’s no longer here, I’ve taken his place as cherry picker (and well, my brother too when he’s here and we both use grampy’s chair).

So the cherry chutney is incredibly easy. I remove the flesh from the seeds first, making sure to leave the flesh in large pieces; this can take a little while but if you work fast it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. Squeeze the juices from the seeds back into the bowl with the cherries, you wanna gather up all the juice you can muster from those seeds. Then in a sauce pan, I added the de-seeded cherries with the juice, some rum and honey and turned the heat up to medium. I let this reduce slowly until it’s reduced in size but still has a good amount of that liquid left behind. Then I add some cornstarch and let it cook for 5 more minutes. It’ll be thick but easily spreadable. I love the tangy cherries with a bit of sweetness from the honey with the earthiness of the rosemary and the crispy, savoury chicken!

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This dish would be great for date night because it’s so simple yet it has the taste and look of a dish you could find in an upscale restaurant.

So when my chicken has gotten crispy and is just a few minutes shy of perfectly cooked, I slid it out and slathered my cherry chutney on top, then back into the oven until completely cooked. The cherries bake into the skin and become like the skin of the chicken itself!

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I love the cherries with the rosemary so much that I added some rosemary to my leftover cherries and had it on some really good toasted bread; delicious!!!

I had my Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Cherries with some baked sweet potatoes which I dressed up with some herby olive oil. I also splashed some plain, tangy yogurt on top but that’s optional; I love tang so I always go over board with the yogurt and the lime! Haha.

So that’s it guys! An easy non-vegan meal that’s still healthy and can work as dinner on the weekends or for a special night with your special someone.

Check out the recipe below!

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Cherries

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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Tangy and sweet cherries paired with rosemary make this dish a unique and super tasty one that’s still healthy!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cherries, de-seeded (with juice)

1 tablespoon white overproof rum (Jamaican preferably but any rum will do the trick)

1 tablespoon honey (more if you want it sweeter)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 chicken, bottom half of legs and thighs

Salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1-1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sprig of rosemary

yogurt or lime (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Add the cherries with the juices to a sauce pan with the rum and honey over medium heat. Cook until the juices reduce and the cherry flavour becomes deeper.
  3. Add the cornstarch at this stage, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. The chutney should be spreadable but thick. If it’s too thick, add some water.
  4. While the cherries reduce, start on the chicken by removing any fat and scoring the chicken skin.
  5. Season with the salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary.
  6. Pop it into the oven on a shelf close to the top. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the skin becomes super crispy. Make sure the chicken is almost done but not quite; use a thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 155°F to 160°F.
  7. Remove from the oven and slather the cherry chutney over top.
  8. Put the chicken back into the over for another 5-10 minutes. It will be done at 165°F. If you are an experienced cook, you will be able to look at the chicken and know exactly when it is done, no thermometer needed.
  9. Plate with sweet potatoes and a splash of yogurt or lime.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Jackfruit Seeds with Mint Pesto

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If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you’ll know that I hate to waste food and I love trying new and interesting ingredients so when we finished our jackfruit and had the seeds left behind, I asked my fiance, Gordon “what can I do with these?” And he told me that these seeds are actually similar to potatoes when boiled, OMG! That was the most exciting news I had heard all day!! Immediately my mind went to jackfruit seeds in pesto. So here’s the recipe for my incredibly delicious Jackfruit Seeds with Mint Pesto. I can’t wait for you to see just how easy this one is!

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So my pesto isn’t the traditional stuff, I mean, which recipe of mine ever is? But it’s gosh darn tasty! I made mine with mint instead of basil and subbed pine nuts for sunflower seeds since pine nuts really aren’t easily accessible on the island. Everything else were the basic pesto ingredients; some Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I smashed everything, except the oil together in my trusty pestle and mortar; if you don’t have one of these, please get one, you’ll be so glad you did. Jamaicans can find the wooden ones at craft stores and they are very popular in the countryside where they are sold on the side of the road. I smashed until all the ingredients became a paste and then I added the olive oil and mixed it together.

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For the Jackfruit seeds, I simply boiled them in some lightly salted water until they were tender; this took a little longer than potatoes, say about 45 minutes in all, but of course that depends on how many seeds you’re working with. Yup, that’s it for cooking ’em and you thought working with jackfruit seeds might be complicated. Oh and the seed’s brown skins turn purple when they are cooked which makes for a pretty plate of jackfruit seeds!

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You wanna drain the seeds then add them back to the pot over medium heat. Add the pesto and stir it all together, making sure the seeds are coated in the herby stuff. I let it go for only five minutes, then I tasted and added more salt and pepper, you should do the same and add more if you need to.

When I made this, I had enough for dinner and some leftover which I ended up adding greens and other veggies to, to make it a complete lunch. Ideally this recipe will work great as an addition to salads but you can add additional veggies like me and make it ‘jackfruit seed night’. The great thing for non-meat eaters or those that eat little meat like myself, is that jackfruit seeds are chuck full of protein… and well vitamins and fiber too. Awesome right!

The texture is basically like potatoes with a taste this is unique in itself yet sorta familiar. The fresh minty flavour with the cheese really makes this YUMMY! You could add anything to these babies and they’d turn out awesome. You could roast them like potatoes (after you par-boil them) or mash them even; jackfruit seeds are your playground. If you are lucky enough to get an entire fruit like myself, then you can be super creative and just have fun. And you can start with this recipe, below.

Comment and let me know your thoughts!

Jackfruit Seeds with Mint Pesto

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is a quick and healthy, protein packed meal or side dish with a fresh pesto sauce.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2-3 cups jackfruit seeds, skinned of their shell-like outer layer

water, for boiling

salt, to taste

a full bunch of mint

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese or vegan cheese

black pepper, to taste

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the jackfruit seeds in lightly salted water until they are tender, this will take about 45 minutes.
  2. While the seeds boil, add the garlic cloves, mint leaves, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper to a pestle and mortar.
  3. Smash the ingredients together into a smooth paste. Add the olive oil and mix together. Set aside.
  4. Once the jackfruit seeds are tender, drain them and put them back into the pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the pesto and stir to coat the seeds. Cook for 5 -7 minutes until everything melts together and coats the seeds well.
  6. Serve hot with more cheese, if desired.

I hope you shine today!heart